One of the men charged in a 2007 kidnapping case here involving a former beauty queen and law student pleaded guilty Tuesday to several charges.
David Wayne Radde, 44, told Superior Court Judge Richard Nichols he had a minor role in a kidnapping incident Dec. 8, 2007, allegedly involving a former local beauty queen, Kumari Fulbright, 27.
Radde’s attorney, Barbara Catrillo, said Radde could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, depending on whether the sentences are concurrent or consecutive. Sentencing was set for June 15 at 9 a.m.
In 2007, Tucson police said the victim, an ex-boyfriend of Fulbright, was bound and held captive for more than eight hours while she allegedly tried to intimidate him into returning jewelry she claimed he stole. The victim is in a Massachusetts prison on an unrelated felony charge.
Catrillo said Tuesday Radde pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to drug charges he faced after his arrest in the kidnap case: possession of heroin and cocaine for sale and possession of methamphetamine. He also pleaded guilty to two weapons possession charges.
Officers found the drugs in Radde’s home when they went to arrest him in the kidnap case. He had an M11 submachine gun and a Glock handgun in his possession at the time of his arrest, Catrillo said. Radde, a convicted felon, was not permitted to own guns, she said.
Catrillo said Radde did not know Fulbright and was trying to help a friend, Robert A. Ergonis, 45, “intimidate” the alleged kidnap victim.
“He wanted to aid Mr. Ergonis. He had never met Ms. Fulbright before,” Catrillo said.
“He was assisting a friend in what turned out to be a kidnapping,” she said Tuesday.
“It’s significant that Mr. Radde didn’t have any real information he could share about Ms. Fulbright or her involvement in this matter,” Catrillo said.
Fulbright, a second-year law student at the University of Arizona at the time of the incident, faces charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping and robbery. She posted bond, dropped out of law school and moved to Texas to await trial. Fulbright was Miss Pima County in 2005.
Ergonis remains in the Pima County Jail on $500,000 bond.
No trial dates for Ergonis and Fulbright have been set.
Another defendant in the case, Larry Bruce Hammond, 40, pleaded guilty in May to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in exchange for his testimony in the Fulbright and Ergonis trials.
Hammond will be sentenced after he testifies against Fulbright and Ergonis.
The Attorney General’s Office is handling the case because there was a conflict of interest in the Pima County Attorney’s Office. A friend of Fulbright was an intern for the county attorney at the time of Fulbright’s arrest.